Not a day goes by that I am not appreciative of the profession I am in. So many opportunities to not only shape and mould our own teaching practice, but to inspire our students to be their best. Tapping into their talents, creativity, interest points, and prior knowledge is challenging at the very best of moments, but we should always strive to do so, right.
With the annual sports days (early years, elementary, and secondary) behind us, I wanted to give my stars a reprieve from the running, jumping, and throwing in the heat, to take part in a bunch of adventure challenge/cooperative learning activities this week and next. I enjoy engaging students in challenges that require little or no equipment as it focuses on building upon and strengthening communication skills.
My goal for this week was to have all of my grade 3 and 4 classes take part in an excellent challenge that really requires trust. Taking any moments possible to focus on trust is essential in my opinion, especially in regards to cooperative type challenges. My thought of the day on Thursday, May 16th was directly related to the kindness of humanity -- how people take the time and effort to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
After doing this blog post, I felt that it would be great to share the ‘Honk if you love someone’ video with my students BEFORE having them take part in the trust-building activities I had planned for them. Please see the progression and breakdown of this lesson. It worked so well and the kids were great. I feel as though they really received the message that TRUST is so important in our lives and within the relationships we have.
Step#1: Have your students watch this short 4-minute video and ask them to think about what the main message being presented is. Have them think about key words that sums up the message of the video and how it made them feel.
Step#2: Breakdown the main message being presented in the video by recording your students' thoughts on paper. My driving question was 'How can we ensure that we are working together and showing teamwork?" I then had them take turns in describing how the video made them feel and to share ideas about being better team players. See the results in the picture below.
Step#3: Introduce the first game to the students. I call it the 'Silent Partner Lead' game. The main idea of this game is that there is a leader who guides a partner around the room who has their eyes shut. They do this by remaining silent and guiding their partner around the room/gym by placing their hands on their partners shoulders. They gently turn their partner either way and lead them in and around the other teams also navigating their way around the room.
Enter very fun part of the game! The trick of this activity is that the leaders must silently and safely switch who they are leading around the room a few times during the activity. I get them started off in this activity by playing music. While the music plays, the leaders begin maneuvering their partners around the room for about 2-3 minutes switching off with other leaders. When the music stops, the person being led keeps their eyes shut and must guess who is leading them. They are so surprised to see who it is. This is great to observe. Watch the video below to get a glimpse into how this trust building task works.
Step#4: You will see that your students will really love this game. They have a bunch of feeling going on at once, a bit of fear, excitement, and a feeling of responsibility as they lead and be led. Now, time to move on to another goodie. I call this game 'Joy, Love, Peace'. The concept of being led and leading remains in place, but this is how the game now shifts. Partners stay together in this activity. They do not switch off as they did in the previous task. The leader is no longer allowed to touch their partner but must now lead and direct them around the room using only their voice. The only time they place their hands on them is if their partner is in danger of running into a wall or someone else.
Shuffling steps! The person with their eyes closed only shuffles slowly around the room in order to ensure safety. When giving directions to their partner, the leader would normally use the words: left, right, straight, stop, and backwards. However, we are going to spice it up with a little love, peace, joy, happiness, and surprise.
Left = Love
Right = Peace
Straight = Joy
Back = Happiness
Stop = Surprise
Now all your beautiful students will be walking around and filling the room with a lot of Loves, Joys, Peace, Happiness, and Surprise. I can say with full certainty that everyone of my students thoroughly enjoyed this activity. It was meaningful and was a direct follow up to the main gist of what they had seen in the video earlier and was an excellent way to address the theme of trust. Please see video below of the 'Joy, Love, Peace'.
Reflection can play a powerful role in determining what our students know in terms of the intended concepts being taught in our classes. Reflection is a huge part of my program and the #Sportfolio that I use for my classes. I thought that getting my students to do reflections after this activity would be a valuable source of feedback. Please see examples of student assessment below. Try these activities out and let me know how they work for you. Adapt, modify, and tweak them if you want and share them back with me for my blog. Thanks!